coming of age

All the Birds in the Sky

By Charlie Jane Anders
Rated by Josh N.
Mar 7, 2016

"Genre mashups," where an author takes two different genres or sub-genres--for example, romance and steampunk or hardboiled detective and science-fiction--are not exactly new, but they have become a hot topic lately. With her debut novel All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders has done something different, taking a character in a modern fantasy story and a character in a near-future, dystopian SF story and having their lives intertwine in friendship and romance, without mashing up the different genres they belong in. It's like if Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen lived in the same world

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Rated by Katerina J.
Jun 2, 2011

Along for the Ride is an enjoyable read by a renowned YA author Sarah Dessen. Dessen has gained wide spread popularity by writing genuine stories about coming of age, friendship and love. Her characters are typically well developed and true to life. People can relate to her characters and their predicaments and that is what makes Dessen’s books so popular and loved. You will not find any paranormal creatures in her books.

Auden Penelope West is the central protagonist of Along for the Ride. She is an accomplished, highly intelligent girl who quite does not fit among her peers. Her adolescence

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Rated by Katerina J.
Nov 9, 2011

Writer Sophie Flack is a former dancer of New York City Ballet and a new author to watch. In her debut novel Bunheads, Flack revealed the glamorous but hard lives of members of the ballet corps. Based on her insider experience, she wrote a fascinating, yet bittersweet story about the elite world of professional ballet. Her readers learn about the stunning performances, exhausting rehearsals and backstage drama. They discover fierce competition, but also camaraderie among the dancers. 

The heroine, nineteen-year-old Hannah, is a talented and hardworking senior corps member who hopes to become

Mar 3, 2011

Carter Finally Gets It is one of the funniest books I've read in some time.  The story is about a 14 year old boy and his struggles through his freshman year of high school. If you attended a public high school you will enjoy this story.    I'm glad I didn't read it while my sons where in highschool. I would have had nightmares.                                                            
From the back of the book there is a "WARNING: This book contains lewd humor, underage drinking, illicit fantasizing and very bad decision-making." It's also available on CD, the reader (Nick Podehl)

Sep 29, 2010

city-of-thievers.jpgI started reading The Passage by Cronin and the City of Thieves simultaneously.  I stopped reading the  The Passage on about page 40 because of the mounting tension and the prospect of vampires.  But somehow I could continue reading the fictionalized account of the  devastation inflicted on the city of Leningrad during the Nazi's attempted blockade. This worries me a bit about myself, but I have to say the City of Thieves is one of the most gripping, engaging books I have read recently.

Benioff introduces us to an odd couple,  Kolya and Lev ( I am reminded of Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in

Crossed by Ally Condi

Rated by Katerina J.
Jan 18, 2012

Crossed is the much anticipated second book in the young adult dystopian Matched trilogy. Crossed picks up where Matched left off. Ky has been relocated by the Society to an unspecified location in Outer Provinces to fight the enemy and Cassia is determined to find him. After spending some time in different work camps, Cassia manages to get on a transport that is heading for Outer Provinces. As she reaches one of the villages located in a desert area of Outer Provinces, she learns that Ky has escaped and that he is headed for an area called the Carving. Cassia sets off after him. As Cassia and

Feb 19, 2012

Death Cloud is the first in Andrew Lane’s excellent new series about young Sherlock Holmes.  Lane, a Brit who has written fan fiction for Doctor Who and James Bond, explains in his afterword that, “Arthur Conan Doyle gave little away about Sherlock’s early years… That has given me the freedom to create a history for Sherlock that is consistent with the few hints that Conan Doyle did let slip, but also leads inevitably to the man that Conan Doyle described.”  And he did a great job: this is the first teen series to be endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate.

The book opens on a secondary character

Dirty Little Secret

By Jennifer Echols
Rated by Lisa J.
Jun 4, 2014

If you like country music this is a great summer read.  Bailey and her sister Julie have been singing together as long as she can remember.  But now, Bailey has been relegated to playing back-up to costumed country singer impersonators at the mall while her sister and parents are off promoting Julie's solo career.  But, country music is in Bailey's blood and she'll play any gig she can get, as long as her parents don't find out.  They're afraid she might steal the limelight from Julie.  When Bailey meets Sam he invites her to join his band.  Sam has big goals and dreams and he wants Bailey to

Dec 30, 2011

Lucky Linderman is dealing with a lot of problems:

  1. His mother is a squid who would rather swim hundreds of laps a day than deal with the problems in her life.
  2. His father is a turtle chef who would rather hide in his shell or at work, or on the sofa watching the food network than talk to his son.
  3. Lucky has been tormented by the same bully, Nader, since he was seven years old, and no one will believe him or do anything about it.
  4. Everyone things he is suicidal after a school statistics project where he circulated a poll about how students would kill themselves, this has led to regular

Feb 2, 2010

Fancy White Trash by Marjetta GeerlingThere were three reasons why I picked up Fancy White Trash. At first, the cover with a pink flamingo caught my attention and then I was intrigued by the title. When I found out that the book had been selected by the American Library Association's for their 2009 Best Books for Young Adults List and I made a decision to give it a try. As soon as I read the first couple pages, I was hooked.

This debut novel is a lighthearted and hilarious read. Fifteen-year-old Abby Savage is determined to find true love and especially not to repeat family's history of dating and getting pregnant. Therefore, she

Flower Children

By Maxine Swann
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 8, 2011

It happens to all library users sooner or later. A book, for reasons unknown, appears on your hold shelf and you have no idea when or why you requested it. This time it was Flower Children by Maxine Swann, and while I have no recollection of requesting it, I’m glad I did. Told in short story format by the children of devout hippies, Flower Children offers a glimpse into a culture where children are raised without limits and adults show little restraint. Interestingly, the children know they have been exposed to things other children have not seen and it makes them uncomfortable, their coming

Aug 16, 2010

 The first volume of the series serves as an introduction to the character, world, difficulties, and companions of Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist. Orphaned at a young age, the eleven-year-old prodigy and his younger brother, Alphonse, attempt forbidden human transmutation in an effort to resurrect their mother. They learn the hard way why it's forbidden, when Al's body vanishes along with Ed's left leg, shortly followed by his right arm—the price to keep his brother's soul and bind it to a suit of armor. The series opens four or so years later, after Ed's debased himself by joining the

Feb 26, 2018

Tink is heading into sixth grade, her last year in elementary school and she must deal with everything from her body suddenly changing to the ever increasing strain between her and her best friend, Jackie's, friendship. Hundred Percent is an authentic and true look into the mind and life of a girl transitioning from a child to a young adult.

The cover of the book is what originally drew me in, it's bright and colorful and just a joy to look at. This book surprised me in the best way, any novel dealing with a protagonist fourteen or younger must maintain a precise balance of accurately

May 15, 2009

One of my favorite books is being made into a movie, it is just one of those books that as you are reading you are selecting cast members in your head. I Love You, Beth Cooper is the story of one teen's experiences at the end of high school. Denis Cooverman has always been a geek. For as long as he can remember he has been the butt of every joke, getting swirlies in between classes and practical jokes played on him ever day. Denis knows that he wants to be remembered differently, he wants to make his mark on Buffalo Grove High School class of 2007. So in his valedictorian speech at graduation

IT (CD Audio)

By Stephen King
Rated by Melody M.K.
Nov 21, 2017

An eternal entity that goes into a sort of hibernation comes back every 27 years, feeding on the fears of children and creating all sorts of chaos in the town of Derry, Maine. The book IT is divided into five parts, moving from the summer of 1958 to 1985.

In the summer of 1958 Georgie, Bill's little brother, goes out to sail a paper boat and is the first to meet the entity during this visit. It does not end well for Georgie.  Bill and a group of other eleven-year-olds then get tangled up in the horror in Derry. They give the entity the name IT and themselves the name The Losers Club. After

Mar 14, 2010

Kalix MacRinnalch, youngest daughter of the reigning werewolf king and closet laudanum addict, is on the run. Which is unsurprising, since she attacked her father during an argument about her boyfriend and ran off. She's currently running from her family—who are split on the notion of whether she should be rescued or executed for treason—from rival clans, and from human hunters who see her and all her kind as abominations.

The absolute best thing about this book is how utterly prosaic it is, and I mean that in the very best of ways. You would think that a war of succession between the

Matched by Ally Condie

Rated by Katerina J.
Mar 2, 2011

Matched is the first book in a young adult dystopian trilogy. The main character is seventeen-year-old Cassia who lives in a Society where all choices are made for you. You do not have to worry what you will eat, what your profession will be or even when you die.  Everything is scientifically selected for you.

Cassia’s story opens at her Matching ceremony where she is to her surprise and delight matched to her best friend Xander. According to the Society, Xander is her ideal mate. He is destined to become her husband and father of her children. At the ceremony, all the Matchees are given a

Jul 9, 2015

It’s a shame that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl gets lumped in with John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Even though both are excellent novels involving a person dying of cancer, both are about vastly different things. Both have a vastly different tone, too - instead of Green’s warmth and earnestness, here life is more confused and bitter and darkly funny and deeply personal, which is more like how I remember high school. An unmotivated senior, Greg Gaines tries to stay under the radar and just survive the day unscathed. His goal is to drift through the year and deliberately keeps himself

Miller's Valley

By Anna Quindlen
Rated by LeeAnn B.
May 11, 2016

Miller’s Valley is a coming of age novel about Mimi Miller, a girl growing up in the 1960s in rural Pennsylvania. Mimi and her family live on the same farm their family has lived on contentedly for generations. But things in Miller's Valley are beginning to change. Mimi’s dad is a farmer, but he’s really the fix-it man for the entire town. Mimi’s mom is a nurse who still manages to be around to raise Mimi and her two brothers. Mimi’s aunt, Ruth, also lives in a little house on their farm. In fact, she hasn’t left the inside of her house for many years. Over the years, their valley has been

Sep 15, 2011

Moon over Manifest won the 2011 Newberry award. That was enough reason for me to read it, but I quite enjoyed it and want to offer a few more reasons.

It is set in Kansas. The town, Manifest, if fictional, but is based on family stories and memories of a real Kansas town that the author’s grandparents lived in. It’s set in both 1917 and 1936 – very interesting times, what with WWI and the Great Depression. It deals with overcoming hardship and finding your place in the world. These are broad themes, and therefore applicable to… everyone. I always enjoy stories about coming together in the face

Pennyroyal Academy

By M.A. Larson
Rated by Katie S.
Nov 8, 2014

Step into a world where princesses fight witches and knights battle dragons and prepare to become enchanted with the wonderful Pennyroyal Academy

M.A. Larson creates a truly imaginative world of cadets in training to become princesses and knights who will ultimately rid the world of evil. If you think princesses are just beautiful girls living in castles, then think again. The cadets have to battle each other in obstacle courses and training exercises, jump from towers onto the horsebacks of their heroes, and learn to find confidence and compassion within themselves when faced with evil

Jan 28, 2011

Have you ever read a book and been completely amazing but also completely unable to describe it? I have a feeling that this is not going to be the best review I have ever written because I loved Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, but I don't even know where to begin telling you about it. In a nut shell the story is about love, in all its messed up forms. As it is almost impossible to describe I will tell you the facts:

  • Vera is a 17-year-old pizza delivery technician.
  • She lives alone with her dad, a penny-pinching accountant.
  • Her mom left when she was twelve to live a more exciting

Rapture Practice

By Aaron Hartzler
Rated by Peggy H.
Oct 13, 2015

This is the memoir of Aaron Hartzler, a writer and actor currently living in Los Angeles. The story covers his growing up years right here in the Kansas City metro.

Aaron was raised in an extremely conservative Christian home as the son of a preacher. As a child, he was thrilled by the idea of the Rapture, a highly anticipated event in which Jesus will return to Earth to gather his believers and take them directly into heaven. Aaron would jump as high as he could into the air while singing, hoping that he could catapult himself directly into heaven. But as he entered his teen years, Aaron

Raven Girl

By Audrey Niffenegger
Rated by Sam S.
Jun 8, 2017

Raven Girl is the story of a girl-raven child produced by a lonely postman and the raven he fell in love with. It's a uniquely illustrated, dark, short novel—similar to Niffenegger's The Three Incestuous Sisters. The story opens with a postman rescuing a young raven who has fallen from her nest. After bringing her home and restoring her to good health, the two begin a life together and eventually fall in love. They produce a child, a girl. Though she appears human, she communicates in squawks and screeches and endlessly yearns for the sky. The story follows her as she approaches adulthood and

Signal To Noise

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Rated by Jesseca B.
Mar 24, 2017

“Why can’t music be magic? Aren’t spells just words you repeat? And what are songs? Lyrics that play over and over again. The words are like a formula.”

The classic hiss of a vinyl record collides with magic in this fun coming-of-age story. We first meet Meche in 2009 as she travels back to her hometown of Mexico City to attend her father’s funeral. Traveling back to her hometown forces her to confront her memories of the last time she was in Mexico City at the age of 15. Chapters flip from present-day 2009 to her teen years in 1988 as present-day Meche grapples with the truth she wants to

Sing Street

By Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated by Stefanie E.
Feb 16, 2017

It's difficult for me to remember a more joyful, smart, and pleasant coming-of-age movie made in recent years. Sing Street, shot on the streets of Dublin, is filled with vibrant costumes and colorful people and I couldn't help but feel delight as I watched the young characters come to life. During my first viewing, it was easy to make comparisons to the beloved American filmmaker John Hughes of 1980's Chicago fame because of the mutual time period. For those familiar with Hughes, Sing Street is just as kooky, spontaneous, and anti-establishment as The Breakfast Club and just as sweet, silly

Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey

Rated by Rachel C.
May 26, 2011

Skin Hunger is the story of two people, centuries apart.  Sadima, a girl with strange abilities in an era where magic is forbidden, and Hahp, an unwanted child sacrificed to a school of magic where only one can survive to graduate.  Alternating chapters tell each of their stories as they slowly intertwine.

More than the perfect prose, the entrancing characters, and the increasingly dark plot, what I love about this book—and, by extension, the series—is the incredible portrayal of the insidious nature of evil.  The best and brightest intentions in the world cannot hold against its taint, and

The Boston Girl

By Anita Diamant
Rated by Hannah Jane C.
Feb 3, 2017

The Boston Girl is told by 85-year-old Addie, who revisits her long life of memories during an interview given by one of her grandchildren.  It’s an incredibly intimate one-sided conversation that completely ensnares the reader.  This storytelling style made me feel as if Addie was my grandmother.  Like other special books with superb storytelling, The Boston Girl envelopes the reader inside a bubble.  While reading it, you feel like you are living the story and your real life is just an inconvenience that exists outside of the bubble. 

Addie Baum is both fiercely independent and

The Boston Girl

By Anita Diamant
Rated by Caitlin T.
Mar 8, 2016

The Boston Girl is a classic tale of a first generation American woman in the early 1900s trying to start a better life. Addie Baum, an ambitious and likeable Jewish woman now in her eighties, tells the story of her youth to her twenty-two year old granddaughter. Her misadventures in a world unimaginable to her family are touching and amusing, though a little too familiar. At its core, this is a historically based coming of age novel intended for adults about the search for knowledge, love and self.

I rate this book a seven out of ten mostly due to its predictability. I had high

Jun 24, 2012

The Cat’s Table tells the story of an 11-year-old boy traveling alone on an ocean liner from Columbo, a city in Sri Lanka, to England.  His parents are divorced, and he’s moving to live with his mother whom he hasn’t seen for years. Assigned to sit at the “cat’s table” along with assumed undesirable adults and other unattended children, he meets his fellow travelers—a boisterous jazz musician, a silent tailor, a master gardener, a performing hypnotist and even a dying millionaire. Ondaatje jumps quickly among characters, offering readers gentle sketches of each that show how we are all